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Old 05-08-2012, 01:29 PM   #1
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Wooden Boats

Hi Trawler fans!

I discovered this forum and joined about a month ago.

I'm a custom builder on Lake Erie (Ohio) and and I'm curious whether there's any interest in new wooden trawlers any more? Nothing feels and sounds quite like a wooden boat under way (or at anchor) and I imagine trawler folks tend to understand that more than your average boat owner. And the aesthetics of wooden boat construction have an appeal that can't be matched in fiberglass or aluminum.

New, traditionally-built wooden boats remain viable but the best wood-epoxy building techniques can reduce maintenance and result in a virtually unlimited lifespan. Does wood construction appeal to anyone any more?

John Riddle
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #2
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My last boat was a wooden boat but it was covered in many layers of fiberglass and Kevlar.

If it is done right and with enough glass and resin. It would seem to me it could be just about the same as an all glass boat.

Done right is the key. Leave a little opening anywhere and the water gets in.

It just about has to be encapsulated in Fiberglass.

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #3
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It has appeal but it's way expensive if you're talking about plank-on-frame construction and it's done properly.

And while I believe a well cared for wood boat is no more effort to maintain than a well cared for plastic boat, the difference becomes glaring when the boats are not so well cared for. A plastic boat gets really dirty with neglect and some of the systems may start to fail or deteriorate with disuse. But that's about it.

A neglected wood boat can start to allow moisture to get into places it shouldn't be and then you have the potential for problems that can be a major effort and expense to fix.

So I would venture to say that in the kind of boating market represented by the members of forums like this one the interest in new-build wood boats is not seriously high enough to warrant trying to make money off it.

And if I was really rich and wanted a new boat, as much as I like wood I would probably look at some kind of composite construction (by which I mean carbon fiber or the like) before I seriously considered wood. At least not plank-on-frame.

The WEST process of cold-molding and whatnot may have merit depending on the type of boat. But I don't really regard those as "wood boats." They are composite boats with resins and epoxies providing the real properties of the hull.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:32 PM   #4
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John,
I want a wood boat.

But not trawler size. What I want is Tang or Marcia in the Atkin boat plans list/site/catalogue.[http://www.atkinboatplans.com/] [/URL]Would be a trailer boat so I would want it in plywood. But doubt it could be cost effective to ship it out to Vancouver BC. You probably know how best to do that.

I'm having troubles. The link is't hot but if you look it up look under "inboard cruisers. Converting to OB power may not be the best but putting batts, fuel and water fwd may balance things out well enough.

I know of nothing else that compares to these boats. I have a 60hp OB and think these boats will cruise at about 12 knots w this power. No other boats other than the 26' Handy Billy come close to what I want. A light, efficient and trailerable OB that can take some fairly nasty water.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:26 PM   #5
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Sam Devlin in Olympia custom builds new wood boats including several trawler designs.

Devlin Designing Boat Builders

These vessels are not cheap, but are certainly beautiful and well executed. He uses the 'stich and glue' technique of epoxy over plywood. Admitedly, these are not true 'wood' boats as earlier mentioned, as they typically do not suffer the normal maintenance associated with most wood boats.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:01 PM   #6
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Manyboats:

I am familiar with Atkin's website and designs. I'd be happy to discuss your ideas. I sent you a PM with my contact info and a few thoughts. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

John
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:27 PM   #7
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Marin:

Both you and Skipperdude made similar points that reflect common thinking about wooden construction, whether it's of traditional construction (ex: plank-on-frame) or one of several wood-epoxy techniques. But I think some of those points by themselves are somewhat misleading because they don't tell the whole story.

Quote:
It has appeal but it's way expensive if you're talking about plank-on-frame construction and it's done properly.
Realistically, when we're talking about new wooden construction, we're usually considering wood-epoxy construction vs. traditional methods like plank-on-frame. Wooden construction is really well suited to custom builds and its cost can compete favorably with high quality construction in other materials. It can even compete with the best semi-custom production builds because of the amount of handwork involved in both cases.


Quote:
A neglected wood boat can start to allow moisture to get into places it shouldn't be and then you have the potential for problems that can be a major effort and expense to fix.
That is true of any construction. Moisture is bad when it gets in anywhere it doesn't belong, regardless of the construction. I take care of 50-plus year-old wooden boats, some of which are mostly original. I've also repaired 12 year-old decks, transoms, stringers and other cored structures in fiberglass boats. Cores can be wood, balsa or various foams - it doesn't matter. When water gets in, bad things happen.


Quote:
The WEST process of cold-molding and whatnot may have merit depending on the type of boat. But I don't really regard those as "wood boats." They are composite boats with resins and epoxies providing the real properties of the hull.
You're right, they are "composites" of (usually) multiple layers of wood, fiberglass or other reinforcing materials, and the resins that bond it all. One may regard them as something other than wood boats but it is the wood that gives them their great strength, stiffness, relatively light weight, and insulating properties. The epoxy (and fiberglass where it's used) serves to bond it all together into a one-piece, monocoque structure and as importantly, to keep the water out.

If you get "really rich and want a new boat", I hope you'll look me up. You clearly have knowledge and seem like a guy who could be enlightened with a little more information! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

John
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Riddle View Post

If you get "really rich and want a new boat", I hope you'll look me up. You clearly have knowledge and seem like a guy who could be enlightened with a little more information! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

John

If I get really rich and want a new boat I'm going to call Tony Fleming.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:03 PM   #9
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I'll buy that!
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:53 PM   #10
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Welcome aboard, John. Where are you at on Lake Erie?
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:00 PM   #11
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Thanks! My shop is in a town called Vermilion just east of the most southern point on Lake Erie.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:25 AM   #12
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To answer the OP's Q,not many people interested in larger wooden structured boats.They are extremely expensive to have them built.Those that have the means will usually want a traditional wooden boat build.Only us younger up and comers will strike out on our own and build something modern with epoxy and ply.

I'm prepping to build a 27-30 foot ply on frame design from Spira International.I'm holding off on buying plans, as Jeff will be releasing some new designs.One I am particularly interested in is a 27' LOA with 8'6" beam double ender, named the San Juan.Think St. Pierre dory with a rounded stern.I have the study plans for San Juan for review.They haven't been placed on Spira's website yet.However,I have been seriously hung up on his PNW dory plans,properly named Sitka,stretched to 30' with a V entry bow.I still have a couple years to decide before I can start building.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:37 AM   #13
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Ben,
Are you on BoatDesign.net? And Atkin yahoo...group?
You should like those sites.

I really like the Atkin boats but do'nt know if I have the energy or the time to build the ones I like. I want a big medium speed OB. Is the San Juan a typical warped V bottom design?
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manyboats View Post
Ben,
Are you on BoatDesign.net? And Atkin yahoo...group?
You should like those sites.

I really like the Atkin boats but do'nt know if I have the energy or the time to build the ones I like. I want a big medium speed OB. Is the San Juan a typical warped V bottom design?

I am on BDN but not on Atkin group.

The San Juan is ply on frame.It does have some curves in the hull,but I don't know if I would call it warped hull in the traditional sense.It is a displacement cruiser so it has rounded chines with a slight rocker built in.The bow has a V entry but from there back it flattens out.I attached a pic from Spira's FB site.I hope this kind of shows how the bow has a slight bend to it.It's very subtle on there.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:21 PM   #15
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Hi , you are totally correct , on the feel and good looks of a wooden boat , I am refurbishing one now , I've been told that it would cost a couple of million to rebuild one like mine ! Skills and yards are in short supply , and I think the bottom line is the cost , compared to the modern build materials and methods ,

Andy
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:19 PM   #16
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Welcome a board. I have a 1969 Pilot House Trawler (Blaine Seeley) and I absolutely love it.
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Old 09-20-2017, 12:47 AM   #17
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I have been living with a wood composite boat for five years now. My opinion- In general it is a great way to go for a custom single or low volume build if one can ignore the initial high cost and the very poor resale prospects. My best guess count on 30 to 50% more expensive to build if its not your labor and maybe 50 % return on resale in the first 5 years.
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